Story time: county music, specifically 90s country, has a very special place in my heart because it helped me escape the bullying I suffered in middle school.
I grew up in Middle Tennessee and lived in Murfreesboro, just outside of Nashville, until the age of 10. That is when, during Thanksgiving 1991, when we moved to Orlando.
In 5th grade I went from knowing and loving all of my classmates, having grown up with them, to being the new fat kid in town that talked funny. I had a squeaky voice, a heavy southern accent, and a growing weight problem. I was bullied relentlessly for the next few years.
And boy, did I hate it. I was that fat kid that got picked on and beat up and would stand up and tell the bullies to go fuck themselves……just to get my ass kicked again. But, don’t worry about me. I’ve worked through a lot of it with my therapist.
From 5th grade all the way through middle school, country music was an escape. It reminded me of home in Tennessee. Luckily, I was living in a golden age of twangy goodness. Garth Brooks, Joe Diffie, Sawyer Brown, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black, Mark Chesnutt, Travis Tritt, Alabama, Little Texas, and so many more. These were my friends. They helped me survive.
American Aquarium obviously feels the same way that I do about 90s country music.
If I had any musical talent at all, Slappers, Bangers & Certified Twangers: Volume One is the record I would make. This is a beautiful homage to an amazing era of country music.
When you’re looking at the track listing for this album, you can clearly see how this record could sound forced or like a parody. But, that is not the case at all. American Aquarium treats every song on this album with its due respect.
This record is not an imitation and it is not reinvention. Instead, Slappers, Bangers & Certified Twangers: Volume One demonstrates the heavy influence 90s country music had on American Aquarium’s sound. Each track on this record sounds like it could have been recorded in 1992 between a Doug Stone or Mark Collie or Marty Stuart recording session. It just feels right.
A lot of great 90s country songs are represented on this record. And I love that this album includes songs from female artists.
This record makes me happy. This record makes me feel all of those feelings I had when I was 12 and sitting in my room listening to my CDs alone.
If you are 40-50ish and you were a fan of country music, buy this record.
My favorite track: Some Girls Do